Sydney Hobart Competition—Guess the time for Helsal 3 – That is time from start to crossing the finish line.
Prize One place on race training weekend plus a weekend race. (Can be transferred to someone else over 18 or 16 with parents’ consent)
Enter by e-mail to email@example.com
In subject line type the finish time as days hours minutes seconds.
e.g 4 days 2 hrs and 2 minutes 20 seconds is typed as 4020220
or 3 days 14 hrs and 55 minutes 2 seconds would be 3145502
Put your name in the main text.
1) Entries close 2359 GMT 25th December 2013
2) Only one entry per e-mail address
3) If 2 or more entries are correct or nearest time the first one received wins
4) Our company’s Solicitor’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered in to.
5) The name of the winner can be used on our web site (not address or other details)
6) Winner will be told and name on web site around 6th January(when I get back from Oz)
7) Person joining Wild Spirit must not have uncontrolled blackouts, angina or other medical conditions likely to be a danger. Doesn’t matter if a few bits are missing as long as you are reasonably fit.
8) We will be using ‘outlook’ to sort the winner so if you haven’t followed the format you won’t win. Once we have the winner we will check only one entry from that e-mail address, if more than one entry you are disqualified.
9) Someone will win—even if there is only one entry!
10) In the event of Helsal not finishing one entry will be picked at random as winner.
11) We anticipate the training and race dates as per our sailing schedule but storms or other problems could mean alternative dates.
12) There is no cash alternative.
Hint–Unlikely to be less than 3 days(3000000) or more than 5120000
We are off in Australia for the Sydney Hobart You can follow our progress on Helsal 3 after the start on Boxing day via http://www.rolexsydneyhobart.com/tracker/
I am skippering Helsal 3 on behalf of a consortium formed by most of the team I had last year on Kioni. Helsal is a much better yacht than Kioni and I helmed her in the 2010 race when we were the first Tasmanian yacht to finish. This was quite something and we had 2 TV crews plus all the local press and about 500 spectators. Tradition demands everyone finishing their first Sydney to Hobart Race goes in the Harbour. Andy and Niki dived in. Peter followed but 2 pink orbs revealed that he had lost his trunks. His shorts were on the deck so I commenced an auction. With the TV cameras rolling, bidding was brisk with the winning bid going to the man in the water. ‘It is a wise man who learns from the mistakes of others‘–I jumped in.
3 for the price of 2 offer–see specials page.
The 116 hour question
The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) are clear that Competent Crew and Day Skipper courses must be at least 116 hours long. They are best over 5 continuous days — normally 1900 on Sunday to around 1600 on Friday which is 117 hours so one spare.
One school offers them over 4 nights which clearly can’t comply. Others offer over a long weekend and a standard weekend but they are still starting and finishing at 1900 or later and finishing by 1600. Not only does this mean they don’t comply but as you have 2 lots of ‘putting the boat to bed’ you lose another hour as well.The third alternative is over 3 normal weekends and this meets the hours but there is limited scope to really go anywhere. They also tend to ‘mix and match’ so the people on the course with you will change and they may be at different stages.
We have resisted the pressure to cut corners, but it seems that more and more of the companies who have taken the same approach as us are being forced to adopt a non-compliant schedule in order to compete.
Should we go the same way and offer courses we know don’t comply or do we stick to complying? Do drop me an e-mail and let me know your views.
Example from the web at 1326 on 1st November
You can expect to:
Experience living on board for 5 days (4 nights)
Our big race next year will be the Round Ireland as we enjoyed it so much last year. Afterwards we will cruise up to the Hebrides for about 6 weeks then sail home. Outline of probable itinerary on cruising page.
What happened on the RYA course at end of July?
Two of the students were regular ‘Wild Spiriters’ and we set off about 1930 from Lymington across to Studland bay where we anchored for the night. Lulworth range was closed so, catching the tide in the morning, we sailed round to Worrbarrow bay then on to Lulworth cove and continued along the World Heritage Jurassic coast to Weymouth. That evening we were invited to a BBQ by another Wild Spirit at his house overlooking the Bay.
The next morning we sailed back after various RYA exercises and did our night pilotages before tying up in Lymington. Day 3 started by sailing across to the Buoys off Yarmouth for more RYA work then onto Ocean Village in Southampton where we visited the 2nd oldest Pub in Britain. The next day we sailed round to Portsmouth harbour and then overnighted at Haslar Marina with the crew opting for a meal out at an excellent value ‘Eat all you can’ Chinese.
On the last day we sailed back to Lymington watching the Cowes week racing as we went whilst also achieving 10 knots ourselves at times.
With little rain but up to Force 6 we covered 147 NM and as well as covering the syllabus saw a bit of Cowes week.
Another excellent trip…Robin, Tunbridge Wells
Absolutely great mate…Bruce, Nangus Australia (seriously he is called Bruce).
We have had a good season racing wise and cruises have filled up but often only with a week or 2 to go.
RYA courses have been more mixed–some like 2 in September have filled quickly whereas others are sticking. We have some offers but I believe the issue is that we are ‘all inclusive’ whilst other schools often have a number of extras, some of which only become obvious when you get on board. here are some things we won’t be asking extra for:-
Good food–we don’t actually have a budget, we spend what is needed to provide good food. It isn’t a cooking course and we are not Chefs, but we have food that is much better than most sea schools; so none of the hired in skipper having to ask the students for extra money for decent food.
Mooring Fees– we can be in a Marina every night if we want to be. If we spend a night at anchor it is because we believe you will enjoy it, not because we are trying to cut corners.
Oilskins–if you haven’t got them we will provide them and for Competent Crews we provide a RYA log book as well.
You can speak to either Phil or I before booking and between then and the course–no office staff on commission or Instructors hired in as cheap as possible.
New early Booker offers October courses–see RYA pages
It was the Stove wot done it!
After a most hospitable night in the Royal Southampton, where the sponsors of the race to La Trinite plied us with booze, we were down at the start on time and ready for our first really big race of 2013. What a big race it turned out to be.
The forecast looked bad, at least 30 kts of wind from the wrong direction and some big seas—just the sort of conditions that give us the edge over the lighter boats.
The start went well and we were the first monohull out of the Solent and heading west. We had carefully considered our tactics and decided to stay on the North side of the Channel until a particularly strong weather system had gone through; the rest of the fleet went more to the South.
Rounding Portland Bill easily on the tide we set off across Lyme bay as the wind veered and strengthened. Conditions were uncomfortable but we made progress. I was asleep when the thud followed by flying metal awoke me. Something I had never experienced on board before; the gimbal on the stove had sheared. Now this skipper runs on tea, and on Wild Spirit we eat good hot food; a serious situation had arisen. So a couple of hours later we arrived in Brixham and effected repairs whilst attached to a Buoy in the harbour before setting off again, six hours lost, but looking at the rest of the fleet on the tracker they weren’t doing too well either.
We rounded Berry Head and the wind funnelling down off Dartmoor peaked at 48 kts; if it was that much further out we would soon be back in Brixham. It wasn’t, we seldom saw more than 30 kts in the Channel but the waves were big, sometimes very big. We reefed down, clipped on, and sailed across towards the Brittany coast only to find the rest of the fleet (or more accurately the remains of them) only a couple of hours in front.
We rounded Ushant and headed south on a big tack out into the Atlantic. We still had 25 kts much of the time but it was due to drop and veer. I probably called the tack too early but as we approached the mark off Quimper in lighter winds, we could see other yachts.
Rounding a Mark we ripped our biggest running kite so hoisted the 0.9oz which is a universal cut and can sail closer to the wind. Now we were really in a race, 6 yachts within a few hundred yards and 7 miles to the finish. With Bruce on the helm we clawed one place back against S X Girl and held it as other yachts broached and did emergency spinnaker drops as the wind again hit 20Kts. Pyxis was in our sights but just held out as we crossed the line at 10.5 knots.
6 yachts on top of each other after 350NM, perhaps the most exciting finish I have ever had to a race. 2nd in class and 6th overall we were left wondering what might have been if the stove hadn’t broken.
The cruise back from La Trinite was less dramatic but again the weather did not oblige and we ended up taking the Chenal Du Four against the tide with 25 kts of wind. Everyone has seen the picture of the lighthouse under the spray, it wasn’t that bad, but still quite windy and it picked up to a full gale just before we rounded the headland into Roscoff for a couple of nights respite and good meals out. We worked the wind well as we crossed to Weymouth and then it dropped leaving us an hour or so of motoring in. After a BBQ at Bruce’s and a photo shoot we had a second night in Weymouth before using the little wind there was to return back to Lymington 2 weeks and 900NM after we had left it.
May Bank Holiday was our first Royal Ocean Racing Club race to Le Havre and in winds up to F7 we set off well and had a fast crossing. Towards the finish the wind dropped to F2 and we slowed down but still finished 13th out of 35 in class and picked up 100 NM of the 300 needed before the Fastnet.
We turned straight round and sailed back as the forecast was for the wind to die and fog to develop. After a good run we popped into Cowes and had a good meal out before spinnaker practice on Sunday.
The last weekend in April saw the JOG race to Owers (off Selsey Bill) and we came 2nd in one of our most exciting races yet. Exocet who beat us into 2nd place both ways in the Cherbourg and return race chased us for over 30 miles but finished 50 yards behind.
Courses are not filling as well as we would like and this is the same for most schools. We continue to do early booking promotions and ‘bundles’. If you want to build miles you can always just sail rather than do the RYA qualifications and we will do the odd special particularly if you have sailed with us before.
PayPal--you can pay by PayPal –we prefer you don’t as it costs 3.4% but it does allow you to use a credit card which means you would get your money back if we went bankrupt. I know we won’t but if you are new to us and worried about security please use it for your first booking.
The first Saturday in March gave some splendid sailing in the morning and we tacked up the western Solent in sunshine with the tide. Then we headed up Southampton water and hoisted the code Zero—officially a spinnaker but really a giant Genoa , which we can get to fly 40 degrees off the apparent wind.
As we started to accelerate away from Calshot Spit we heard a ‘Pan Pan’ from Capability a yacht by Calshot who had a Man Overboard. Whilst it was only a ‘Pan Pan’ I treated the call as a ‘Mayday’ as I think someone falling into really cold water fulfils the criteria of ‘Grave and imminent danger’. We dropped the Code Zero, turned round and started to motor back towards them but as we came close were relieved to hear they had recovered the casualty and he was OK. The Coastguard had already tasked the Hamble lifeboat and as we were released to continue we saw it coming out of the Hamble.
Despite the economic gloom and absence of a summer 2012 was a good year for Wild Spirit. Our big race was Round Ireland and this, plus a few other reasonable results, meant we finished 8th out of 90 in Class 4 of the Royal Ocean Racing Club. The six week cruise round Ireland had mixed weather but we had a marvellous time, met some lovely people, saw lots of tall ships, went to amazing places and even sailed under a cable car.
The Wild Spirits who sailed with me on ‘Kioni’ for our cruise out to Lord Howe Island and back (400NM due East of Australia) encountered some of the toughest conditions I have sailed in but came through.
Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race 2012
The weather in Sydney seemed even hotter than usual leading up to Christmas and in the mid 30s with high humidity I wished several times to be back in Somerset. Christmas day was however wet, fairly cold and much more like being at home. A former Wild Spirit now racing on a Volvo 60 had invited me and 2 other of the team on Kioni to Christmas lunch and we gratefully accepted. Kioni a French built First 47.7 was my Yacht for the 2012 Sydney to Hobart race and my first start as Skipper. The team of 14 were mainly Aussies with one Ukrainian, and 2 of the Wild Spirit UK racing team.
Training had been badly affected by repair work on board plus having to wait for spares to arrive, so this meant for the Boxing Day start we were not as well prepared as we would have liked. We were however a cohesive team, so although only one other member had completed a Sydney Hobart before I was confident that we would make it. I had already sailed with several of the team out to Lord Howe Island and back but unfortunately one of them, Ross, had been killed in an air crash a in late November. Ross had climbed mountains around the world and explored Antarctica, he wore ancient orange Oilskins from an early expedition. He had been going to do the race with his son Ben. Ross’s place had now been filled by his Son’s friend; both were called Ben and both were Aussie Commandos just back from Afghanistan; fit, fearless and great team players, all they lacked was sailing experience.
Boxing Day dawned fine and warm, the forecast was reasonable and all of a sudden the media mayhem was underway. As Sailors from England we have trouble understanding this as yacht racing in Britain just doesn’t hit the public imagination like it does in Oz. The Sydney Hobart is one of the top 3 sporting events of the year in Oz, a quarter of a million people turn out for the start with Millions more watching on TV.
There were only 2 school boats in the race and we were one, so we attracted some media attention and I did a couple of TV interviews, then they realized we had 2 Commandos on board and the throng became a blockage in the Marina. In Britain we quietly appreciate the contribution of our armed forces; the Aussies do it without the quietly bit! I set off slightly early to the start to escape the media distraction and let the team focus on the race plus practice a few things we hadn’t yet mastered.
We had agreed on a ‘safe’ start, which meant being a minute late over the line, not as spectacular as some, but in a 628 Nautical mile race it seemed a good move. The start was fast and furious and we had a good position right at the windward edge of the 80 strong fleet as we sped across Sydney Harbour, helicopters drowning out all communication. Leaving the Harbour through the Heads we hit the big Pacific swell and our 15 tons and 47 feet length gave us a clear advantage over the lighter yachts that would be faster in flat seas.
We beat on south for 7 hours until the first watch and then settled into the system of ‘sleep’ and work which would dominate the next 4 days. The weather was kinder than the last 2 years and we made good progress for several hours before the wind died; now our 15 tons were a disadvantage and for 9 hours the lighter yachts went past. Then the wind came back and from the Northeast so we were off towards Bass Strait under Spinnaker and making great progress until the largest spinnaker disintegrated forcing us to change to a smaller ‘Storm Spinnaker’.
Sydney Hobart races always have ‘a bit of a blow’ and as were about 30 miles into Bass Strait the wind picked up to over 30 kts, the instruments failed, the alternator stopped charging the batteries and a considerable amount of water appeared in the boat. I delayed the decision to abandon the race, we bailed and pumped, Phil and Greg successfully battled with the alternator and as we passed the half way mark we were determined we would finish.
About 100 miles north of Tasman Island we were changing helms when Aussie Bruce, a fairly large, stereotypical Aussie Farmer fell on me and the wheel breaking 2 of the spokes, I will not repeat what he said, but we now had to treat the helm very carefully as if another spoke went we would not be able to steer.
We beat on down towards Tasmania and heard a weather forecast of ‘South West winds will reach gale force’. Not a problem for us and difficult for some of our competitors, we were well positioned and looking good but definitely sailing in South East winds. We consoled ourselves that the 90 degree wind change would soon come but it was at least 12 hours late and we had a lot of extra Tacks to put in before rounding Tasman Island on the S.E. corner of Tasmania about 1100 on the 30th December.
We had been pursuing ‘Aurora’ whose skipper Jim Holley was completing his 25th Sydney Hobart and just as we rounded Tasman Island we overtook them. He the tacked in close but John my number 2 was adamant we would be better going on for several miles before tacking due to local tide effects. We went straight on and as we looked back we could see how right John was as by the time they had realized their mistake we were a mile ahead.
Now we had to cross the ‘Bay of Storms’ and according to the weather forecast we should be doing this in a Gale that had come over a 1000 miles across the Southern Ocean from the Antarctic. Fortunately the forecast was again wrong and at times the wind was so light we had trouble sailing at all.
The final 20 miles up the Derwent River to Hobart looks simple but it has notoriously fickle winds and we had to work hard to make up about a mile and one place over 4 hours. At one stage we were virtually stationary in the wind shadow of Mount Wellington as the competitor we had overtaken crept up to within 100 metres, then just as he hit the wind shadow and stopped we were suddenly off again.
We finished in the early evening and the ‘Taste of Tasmania’ festival was well underway on the edge of the Harbour. Although we were the 57th Yacht home we did our lap of Honor to loud and sustained applause from over a 1000 people, a moving and uplifting moment made poignant by the sight of Ben wearing his dead father’s ancient Oilskins. We finished 5th out of 16 in Division and I was immensely proud of the team, the effort they had put in and the way they had pulled together without a single cross word in the whole race.
As I type this I am sitting on a sheep station in Gundagai owned by one of the crew. With no rain for 6 weeks and 41C plus strong winds we are on maximum fire alert and spent the morning making a small fire engine out of a 900 litre tank, a pump and a 4 by 4 ‘Ute’.
The nearest settlement is Nangus where the combined store and pub, an open tin hut and patio area surrounded by 1.5 m high tin fencing, is called the ‘Turkey Pen’ as whenever anyone gets near the heads of the customers all come up over the top of the fence like Turkeys.
Skipper Kioni Sydney to Hobart Race 2012
We have just spent over £5000 on a new racing main and spinnaker plus commissioned other works to ensure Wild Spirit remains a fast desirable cruiser on which to race, cruise and learn to sail.
The Annual Charity weekend raised over £1000 for St Magaret’s Hospice Taunton and we were blessed by superb weather and wind. On Saturday we achieved 10.9kts SOG going out through Hurst down to the Needles with a complete novice on the helm.
Hard of Earing
So there we were waiting for the start of the race back from Poole to Cowes on a sunny September morning but with no wind, I had just taken my annual swim in the sea when the Ch16 call came through.
Caller ‘Portland Coastguard, are there any dive boats in shell bay’
CG ‘ For routine safety traffic go Channel 67′
Caller ‘This is not routine, I have dropped an ear ring in shell bay and need a dive boat’
The rest of the call was drowned by the team laughing. Shortly afterwards we were off and completed the course of approx 26NM in under 2hrs 55mins to finish 9th out of 25 entrants. A superb spinnaker run of almost 20NM making it one of the most memorable races this year.
Updated 26th Nov 2013